Fundamental Principles


On 25 April 1974, the Armed Forces Movement, setting the seal on the Portuguese people's long resistance and interpreting its deep-seated feelings, overthrew the fascist regime.

The liberation of Portugal from dictatorship, oppression and colonialism represented a revolutionary change and an historic new beginning in Portuguese society.

The Revolution restored fundamental rights and freedoms to the people of Portugal.  In the exercise of those rights and freedoms, the people's legitimate representatives have met to draw up a Constitution that meets the country's aspirations.

The Constituent Assembly affirms the Portuguese people's decision to defend their national independence, safeguard the fundamental rights of citizens, establish the basic principles of democracy, secure the primacy of the rule of law in a democratic state, and open the way to socialist society, respecting the will of the Portuguese people and keeping in view the building of a freer, more just, and more fraternal country.

The Constituent Assembly, meeting in plenary session on 2 April 1976, approves and decrees the following Constitution of the Portuguese Republic.

Article 1  Portuguese Republic
Portugal is a sovereign Republic, based on the dignity of the human person and the will of the people, and committed to building a free and fair society that unites in solidarity.
Article 2  Democratic State, Rule of Law
The Portuguese Republic is a democratic State based on the rule of law, the sovereignty of the people, plurality of both democratic expression and democratic political organization as well as respect for and the safeguarding of fundamental rights and freedoms; its aim is to achieve economic, social, and cultural democracy and to push participatory democracy further.
Article 3  Sovereignty and Legality
(1) Sovereignty, one and indivisible, rests with the people, who exercise it in accordance with the forms laid down in the Constitution.

(2) That State is subject to the Constitution and based on democratic legality.

(3) The validity of the laws and other acts of the State, the autonomous regions or local authorities are depend on their being in accordance with the Constitution.
Article 4  Portuguese citizenship
All persons are Portuguese citizens who are considered as such by law or under an international convention.
Article 5  Territory
(1) Portugal comprises the territory defined by history on the European continent and the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira.

(2) The extent and limits of territorial waters, the exclusive economic zone, and the rights of Portugal to adjacent sea beds are laid down by law.

(3) The State may not, except for frontier rectifications, alienate any part of the Portuguese territory or of the sovereign rights it exercises over it.
Article 6  Unitary State
(1) The State is a unitary one organized to respect the principles of the autonomy of local authorities and democratic decentralization of the administration.

(2) The archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira constitute autonomous regions with their own political and administrative statutes and self-governing organs.
Article 7  International Relations
(1) In its international relations, Portugal is governed by the principles of national independence, respect for human rights, the right of peoples to self-determination and independence, equality among States, the peaceful settlement of international disputes, non-interference in the internal affairs of other States, and co-operation with all other peoples for the emancipation and progress of mankind.

(2) Portugal advocates the abolition of all forms of imperialism, colonialism, and aggression, simultaneous and controlled general disarmament, the dissolution of politico-military blocs, and the setting up of a collective security system, with a view to the creation of an international order capable of safeguarding peace and justice in the relations among peoples.

(3) Portugal recognizes the right of peoples to revolt against all forms of oppression, in particular colonialism and imperialism.

(4) Portugal maintains special bonds of friendship and co-operation with the Portuguese speaking countries.

(5) Portugal commits herself to the reinforcement of the European identity and to the strengthening up of the European States' action towards peace, economic progress, and justice in the relations among peoples.
Article 8  International Law
(1) The rules and principles of general or ordinary international law are an integral part of Portuguese law.

(2) Rules provided for in international conventions duly ratified or approved, following their official publication, apply in municipal law as long as they remain internationally binding with respect to the Portuguese State.

(3) Rules laid down by the competent organs of international organization to which Portugal belongs, apply directly in municipal law insofar as the constitutive treaties as applicable provide to that effect.
Article 9  Basic Tasks of the State
The basic tasks of the State are:

a) To safeguard national independence and create the political, economic, social, and cultural conditions conducive to it;

b) To safeguard fundamental rights and freedoms and respect for the principles of the democratic State based on law;

c) To defend political democracy, secure and promote the democratic participation of the citizens in solving the national problems;

d) To promote the people's welfare and quality of life, real equality among the Portuguese as well as the realization of economic, social, and cultural rights by way of transforming and modernizing the economic and social structures;

e) To protect and enhance the cultural heritage of the Portuguese people, defend nature and the environment, conserve natural resources, and ensure a proper regional planning;

f) To secure training on and constant valorization of the Portuguese language, to defend its use and promote itsinternational circulation.
Article 10  Universal Suffrage and Political Parties
(1) The people exercise political power through universal, equal, direct, secret, and periodic suffrage and other forms laid down in the Constitution.

(2) The political parties contribute to the organization and expression of the will of the people and respect the principles of national independence and political democracy.
Article 11  National symbols
(1) The National Flag is the symbol of the sovereignty of the Republic, the independence, the unity and the undivided nature of Portugal; it shall be the flag that was adopted by the Republic established by the Revolution of 5 October 1910.

(2) The National Anthem shall be A Portuguesa.